Think You're Sick With The Flu? Stay Home And Stop The Spread

January 15, 2019 - 11:39 am

DETROIT (WWJ) - We all hate taking a sick day off work. But when it comes to the flu, doctors say you shouldn't mess around.

The flu bug is back in metro Detroit and it is hitting hard. Dr. Steve McGraw, an ER physician at Providence Hospital in Southfield, tells WWJ he is seeing the first wave of influenza patients with a  number of them who didn't get a flu shot.

"We are seeing people struggle with it. It tends to linger," said McGraw. "It's probably very similar in initial severity as to last winter."

The flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by different strains of the influenza virus and can result in mild to severe illness. McGraw advises everyone to wash their hands, wipe down countertops and desktops, and limit your exposure to those who are sick. Most importantly, McGraw says if you're sick, you need to stay home to stop the spread.

"If you are sick, do your level best to stay away from as many people as you can. Do not be that provider of other viruses to other people who aren't sick yet," he said. "A short time off work is better than coming to work, spreading the illness and being relatively ineffective. You have to ask yourself how great an employee are you able to be if you're fighting a fever, you aren't able to concentrate, and then oh by the way, you're exposing other people to an illness that might take them off work, too."

The CDC urges everyone six months of age and older to get a seasonal flu vaccine, which is your best defense against getting a virus. 

"There's still time to get it. Even if you get a flu vaccine in January, we're likely to see flu cases even into March and April -- you'll be protecting yourself from still a significant part of the season," McGraw said. "The flu vaccine while not perfect, maybe it doesn't entirely prevent it but it makes your particular experience less severe, and maybe it makes you have it less likely to even happen in the first place."

Vaccines are available at many locations throughout Michigan, including doctor’s offices, pharmacies and local health departments.